Business Communication Is Changing: How To Really Listen and Not Just Hear

Business communication comes in all shapes and forms. From individual communication like emailing – all the way to delivering a keynote speech to thousands of people, there are a ton of different contexts. Your communication will change depending on the “how”, “why”, and “where” you are doing it.  For example, when an entrepreneur is looking for funding, negotiating with suppliers, or trying to be a leader people can look up to, communication skills will play a major role in your success. 

Cheril Clarke, of PhenomenalSpeeches.com, says, “If you know how to communicate well, you can get almost anything that you need.” A business communications expert and entrepreneur herself, Cheril has worked with CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and politicians. She’s regularly been in the media and, when asked, suggested that there have been a lot of studies that correlate effective communication skills with leadership skills, which is what entrepreneurs need most.  And if your communications skills aren’t helping your leadership ones, (and so forth), here’s a primer to set you on the right path.

Selling yourself as a proper entrepreneur means communicating confidence and trust. If you don’t do this, it will impact every aspect of your business.  You will even have a hard time running a business and setting up a workplace culture empowering effective communication if you can’t communicate effectively yourself. Let’s dig into some communications skills that are pertinent for everyone from the proverbial mail room to the board room.

How Communicate In Writing Matters – And It Has A Shelf Life.

A significant portion of business communication is done in writing, regardless of whether that is an email, a text, a written report, a case study or white paper, or even a simple email. Effective communication means effective writing.  It’s that simple. Make sure to take the time to really check your work for errors (in spelling, grammar, and data), and utilizing spell-check tools or proofreaders, particularly on your most important documents. If you aren’t good at this, there are apps and services you can use to run your content through and get proper suggestions or changes.

Some of the best advice I give is to be concise and direct. This mitigates misinterpretation and enables a stronger bond between what you are communicating and the person you are communicating with. Well-written emails, letters, articles, and the like are also much more likely to get opened, read, shared, replied to, and remembered.  In fact, it will significantly increase their shelf life.

Presentation Matters!

Your presentation matters.  It’s that simple.  Beware of unwieldly documents or displays.  You will obviously find yourself having to present your proposals, ideas, and other information to small or larger groups, individuals, journalists, and other parties. To get the results you need from such presentations, it is important for you to be well-versed in getting your message across effectively so that is has the impact you desire. 

Using helpful tools works, but being concise and relevant in your message delivery works even more. Cheril emphasizes the need to rehearse. “Your confidence is going to build the more that you practice what you have to say,” says Cheril.

Use Your Body Language To Your Advantage!

Body language and non-verbal cues are an integral of communication. Are you skilled at reading the non-verbal cues of others? If not, learn to do this.  It’s a skill that will take you far in life – both professionally and personally. The more you can interpret the more valuable the conversation becomes.

Listen Actively and Engage.

Hearing and listening – really listening, that is, are totally different skill sets. Hearing is a passive ability, as defined by the experts. Listening, on the other hand, should not be passive. It should be active. Active listening requires complete concentration. It also impacts your understanding of a subject, concept, or idea. Those that use their active listening skills remember the information longer and process it more deeply as well.

There are many benefits to active listening, aside from the obvious. These benefits work well in sales and management situations, and in everyday life.  Active listeners are often perceived as being more empathetic and interested in what people have to say, for example. That enables stronger leadership, more open communication, and more respect.Entrepreneurs that utilize effective communication and the skills it encompasses, according to reports, are far more successful. It also impacts their teams as well.  Here are some areas that are impacted from a positive perspective with effective communication: information overload and confusion is eliminated, noise is mitigated, respect is grown, trust is enhanced, productivity is increased, and so much more. Essentially, whether you’re looking for your first job out of school or interviewing to be the CEO of a major conglomerate, utilizing these skills will make you – and your team – far more successful.